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Ross Wins!

Lack of Democratic Support and Divisive Primary Costs Smulowitz

Richard Ross defeated progressive newcomer Peter Smulowitz by a decisive margin.

In the best of circumstances this was going to be a tough election for Democrats to win. The sourthern part of the district is heavily Republican. Scott Brown defeated Martha Coakley here by margins of 4-1 in many places. Had the Democracts been behind Smulowitz – it would have been possible to win with a lot of hard work.

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Peter Smulowitz

Supporters of Ross and Smulowitz have been out in force today turning out the vote for their candidates. The twitterscape is alive today with messages to get out the vote.

Progressive Activists out in Force for Smulowitz

Smulowitz has been getting a huge amount of support from progressive activists. Charles Rudnick, a progressive candidate for Senate from Brookline has been out knocking on doors for Smulowitz, as has Sarah Compton, former field Director for Obama for America MA, and Harmony Wu, prominent progressive organizer for Yes We Can Needham. Smulowitz phone banks were mobbed with supporters today, and phone banks have been set up in many other towns as well, from the Sourth Shore to Northampton.

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Needham Town Hall

Democrats in Needham have been trying to heal the division between Smulowitz and Harkins supporters.

On Wednesday there was a “Democratic Unity” meeting at a private home in Needham. In attendance was John Walsh, the Democratic Party Chair, and a large number of old guard Needham Democratic activists. Peter Smulowitz was there, and though Lida was invited she didn’t show.

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Peter Smulowitz

Democratic infighting threatens other Needham Democratic candidates as well.

The election for the Norfolk Bristol and Middlesex Senate seat is just a week away. Progressive Democratic activists from around the state are working overtime to help Smulowitz win. There are call centers set up not just by the Smulowitz campaign, but by activists in Arlington and as far away as Northampton. Activists at BlueMassGroup have been raising money for Smulowitz. Katherine Adam has organized a fast growing independent facebook group to raise money for Smulowitz. Democratic super-activist Harmony Wu, a major organizer for Barack Obama, has been giving Smulowitz her full attention.

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Dr. Peter Smulowitz

Lida Harkins has stunned Needham Democratics in an interview on Wicked Local Needham, where she refused to endorse Peter Smulowitz, the winner of the Democractic Primary for Scott Brown’s Senate seat. She said she isn’t supporting Ross only because she is Chair of Needham’s Democratic Town Committee.

Harkins, a 20 year incumbent, lost to Smulowitz by a narrow margin in what is looking like a difficult election year for Democratic incumbents. Toward the end of the race, Smulowitz sent out flyers attacking Harkins controversial campaign financing, pointing out that she continues to take contributions from indicted former Speakers.

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In the Norfolk Bristol and Middlesex seat, Dr. Peter Smulowitz has defeated long time Representative Lida Harkins. I don’t know the vote totals yet – but it must be conclusive because the Harkins campaign has officially conceded.

An unofficial tally has Smulowitz with 3,806 votes and Harkins with 3,666.

Sal DiDomenico

Today is election day in the senate seats in Middlesex Suffolk and Essex ( Galluccio’s seat ) and Norfolk Bristol and Middlesex ( Scott Brown’s seat ).

Middlesex Suffolk & Essex:

Turnout is expected to be low. Campaigns are predicting a total turnout of about 13,000 people. I think it will  be even less. Early numbers are very few people at the polls by mid-day.

Here is how I think the candidates will come in:

  • DiDomenico (33%)
  • Flaherty (26%)
  • Simmons (22%)
  • Albano (12%)
  • Benzan (6%)
  • Hill (1%)

DiDomenico’s support is solid in the northern part of the district. If you go past Everett to the north it’s DiDomenico  signs everywhere.

I think Flaherty’s support it soft. A lot of people who would prefer to vote for the true progressives ( Albano and Simmons ) are voting for him just on the perception that he’s the only Cambridge candidate who can win.

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Dr. Peter Smulowitz

The Democractic primary race between Peter Smulowitz and Lida Harkins is getting a little heated.

The Smulowitz Campaign has been making an issue of Harkins campaign contributions – that Harkins has taken contributions from 3 indicted former speakers.

Then at the April 5th State Senate Debate in Needham, Harkins accused Smulowitz of “gutter politics”. And Smulowitz responded:

Nothing we have said is misleading. It is all factual. The simple fact is that my Democratic opponent took campaign money from three separate speakers who were indicted, and that’s not bad enough, the money wasn’t given back after they were indicted. That is only a fact.

The issue has not died down. Smulowitz has continued to send out mailers which level this accusation. And in recent days the campaigns have gone back and forth about this accusation. So today Smulowitz offered a resolution to the controversy. In a press release April 8th, Smulowitz said:

There is a simple resolution to this [controversy]. Lida Harkins should return, today, the money or, better still, contribute the money to a local charity. When Lida does this the matter will be closed.

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Morse Library

The Natick Democratic Town Committee will host a debate on April 6 for the candidates for the open state Senate seat – state Rep. Lida Harkins and Dr. Peter Smulowitz – on the April 13 primary ballot.

The event will be held at 7 p.m. at the Morse Institute Library, 14 East Central St. in the Lebowitz Meeting Hall. The debate will be moderated by Rick Holmes, Editorial Page Editor of The MetroWest Daily News, and will include questions from the public.

The Natick Democratic Town Committee is also planning to co-sponsor a candidate forum for both parties’ nominees prior to the May 11 Special Election.

This is one of two special elections and one of only two chances to act early for independent candidates this year.

Peter Smulowitz

The Sun Chronicle as an article about one of the few stark policy differences between Dr. Peter Smulowitz and Rep. Lida Harkins:

First-time candidate Peter Smulowitz of Needham said he opposes legalized casinos and slot machines at racetracks, while his primary election opponent, state Rep. Lida Harkins, said she favored them.

Harkins and Smulowitz are running in the primary for Norfolk Bristol & Middlesex State Senate seat vacated by Scott Brown. This is a short election with the primary coming up in barely 3 weeks on April 13th.

In this regard Harkins is aligned with Republican Richard Ross who also supports expanded gambling. Gambling opponents in this district have only one chance to elect a senator who opposes expanded gambling. If Harkins wins then both candidates in the general election on May 11th will be supporters of expanded gambling.

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Richard Ross has many friends.

I did another Facebook analysis of the other special election for Scott Brown’s old seat. The same caveats apply: this is a crude measure of support. It all depends on how much effort each candidate has put into their Facebook outreach, and the demographics of their supporters. But it does give us some insight into how much support they have and how well organized their campaign is.

Lets jump right to the numbers:

The only real story here is – look at how many friends Ross has. He outpaces both of this competitors combined – by 2-1. Either he has a ton more grass roots support – or he’s got a pretty aggressive Facebook program – or probably both. He’s been in politics for more than a decade so maybe its not so surprising. Read the rest of this entry »

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